CUMBERLAND council leader Mark Fryer has said Carlisle is a city 'on the up' – as the council announced more progress towards upgrades in the city centre this week.

Cumberland Council is embarking on a venture to regenerate Market Square and Greenmarket, creating a 'welcoming and lively space for residents, businesses, and visitors'.

This is just one of many major regeneration projects that is currently taking place across the city, as the leader says he is optimistic about the future of Carlisle.

Cllr Fryer said: “I think it’s a fantastic city, it’s got so many opportunities it’s unbelievable. I also think it under punches its weight, because it has got so much to offer.

“I think the city centre is slightly jaded, a bit old and needs a bit of a boost so we are doing that. There is a bit of energy in the town that there seems to be at the minute with the takeover of the football club, so the community is on the rise at the minute – there is definitely a bit of hope and a bit of optimism."

The council leader praised the cultural attractions on offer in the city. He said: “The Cathedral itself is something quite special. You go into Tullie House; it’s got the whole of the county’s history probably and the records office.

“When you go over the road to the castle, the history that is in there is unreal, and the Border Regiment Museum, for someone like me who is interested it’s just inspiring, because they are our people.

“I had the opportunity to go to the cricket club when the dig was on, so historically it’s got absolutely everything.”

The leader also praised the city as being ‘striving’ economically, with ‘real world-renowned names’ in Pirelli, McVitie amongst others, a strong construction centre, Kingmoor Park and ‘really strong links with road and rail’.

He said: “We have got some good assets, obviously the citadels and the railway station upgrade... these haven’t been easy contracts to let, they have been challenging and still are, some of them, but we want to make this work. There's some good opportunities, we just need to unlock them.”

Mr Fryer said that despite challenging times for local government finances he is very optimistic about the future of the Carlisle as a city with an ‘opportunity to rise’.

He said: “What you have got to do is take advantage of the situation that you’re in and I think the city has got the opportunity to rise with us, as has the rest of Cumberland.

“People may think this is a political point, but it isn’t. Even on the back end of the last few years we have been in and the really difficult position with our budgets, you have got to remain optimistic.

“You have to have optimism because if you don’t have that you have got absolutely zilch and I suppose that’s my role as council leader to show we can do all this in some really difficult circumstances.”